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Retailers Taking Risks Selling Non-Approved Android TVs

Serious questions are being asked about the sale in Australia of none authorised Android TV’s and Android TV set top boxes, with Google executives at CES 2020 claiming that the only authorised brands globally are listed on their websites.

Google has an Android TV web site that lists certified and approved Android TV brands and factories the Company claims that only these TV’s are approved.

The official Android TV products are listed here: https://www.android.com/tv/

The big risk for retailers such as Harvey Norman, JB Hi Fi and Bing Lee is that consumers could have a right to claim a refund according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission if what they have been sold is not the genuine product or is limited in any way such as being able to get approved Android TV updates.

Currently retailers are selling Android TV products from the likes of Eco, Blaupunkt and Seiki with all three brands not listed on the Google Android TV approved brands web sites.

All these three brands are sold to retailers by Sydney based Ayonz who have not said whether they presented products before they went on sale in Australia to Google for approval.

All of these none approved Android TV products are on sale in Australia.

According to Google the risks consumers face span security and a lack of access to content.

Executives claim that none approved TV could have security problems when they try access the Goggle Play store.

The approved Android TV’s from the likes of Sony, TCL, Bauhn, Philips and ChiQ (Changhong) are built around powerful software platforms products that come with Google Assistant in some products and have been approved by Google.

It took 14 versions of the recent Bauhn TV which went on sale at Aldi to be approved.

Currently the only approved Australian distributor listed on the Android TV website as being officially approved is Tempo.

ChannelNews understands that two distributors have approached Google to manufacture an official Android TV box but have been knocked back.

In Australia the approved brands are set to get a big lift in 2020 as new features are added to the platform.

Philips Is an approved Android TV brand

Google said that the only approved set top box in Australia is the Google Chromecast with the recent Blaupunkt box failing to gain approval despite it be listed on sites that are trying to replicate the official Google site which can be found here.

One source at CES said “Retailers selling none approved Android TV sets are taking a risk with retailers facing the real risk of having to deliver refunds. There are also questions about credibility when a retailer sells a product labelled one thing and the consumers suddenly realizes that they don’t have access to upgrades or certain content because the product is none compliant”.

Shalini Govil-Pai, Google’s senior director of product management for Android TV said last year that Google is completely rethinking the Android TV experience for consumers and giving it much more attention overall.

“Our biggest traction definitely has been with operators and smart TVs, and it’s very fair that the OTT set-top box base has not been the biggest focus,” said Govil-Pai. “But we’re changing that in 2019. So ideally we’d like it to be at least a third of our focus going forward.”

The improvements will span search engine and AI.

Currently the Company is experimenting with different approaches, but Govil-Pai said the result will involve more personalized recommendations and will make catching up on what you’re already watching easier.

App support isn’t the only longstanding issue that Google now wants to address.

The company is trying to reduce the memory requirements for Android TV, so it can work on cheap hardware, and Govil-Pai says Google is working with Netflix on ways for smaller device makers to support the app on their products.

(The latter issue has hamstrung devices like the Channel Master Stream+, which hasn’t been gotten Netflix to certify its hardware.) One solution, Govil-Pai said, might involve a reference design of sorts that would allow Netflix to certify any device, regardless of vendor.

“We are working very closely with Netflix on a lot of these topics,” she said.

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